As a personal stylist, I love the transformative power of clothes. Choosing the right styles can make your figure look altogether more shapely and well-proportioned. Getting the style of neckline right not only balances out your body but can also enhance your face shape.
- Face shape
- Neck length
- Shoulder line
If you have a straight body shape, square and angular necklines can look particularly good, whereas, as a rule, more curvy shapes will suit curved necklines.
Women with slim hips and broad shoulders will look fabulous in halter styles and are best avoiding wide or fussy necklines. The Keira maxi from Boden (pictured above) would look lovely on someone with broad shoulders and a longish neck.
Pear/triangle shapes on the other hand will find that wide necklines such as slash necks and off-the-shoulder styles like the Sylvia dress from Boden (pictured left) balance out their hips as they add width to the shoulder line. Ruffled necklines can also be a good way of balancing the top and bottom half.
If you have a balanced oval face – lucky you! Most necklines will look good on you.
If it’s less than a perfect oval though, think about counterbalancing the shape of your face with your neckline. So, if you have a square face, a soft neckline such as a scoop will soften it, whereas a square neckline will only serve to emphasise its square-ness.
Similarly, a round neckline near a round face will make it look rounder, whereas a square or V-neck will balance it out nicely.
If you have a long neck, very low necklines will emphasise this and may make it look a little scrawny. You can mitigate this by wearing a shortish necklace or a scarf but higher necklines will look better. Roll necks and Jackie O style necklines will be particularly flattering.
If you have a short neck, lower necklines will work well, whereas crew/roll necklines will just make your neck look shorter. Longer necklaces help elongate the neck whereas choker-styles can make short necks disappear altogether!
Size of Bust
If you have a large bosom, lower necklines will generally work well. Whether you go for a modest scoop neck or a more plunging neckline will probably depend on the occasion, how much attention you want to attract and how proud (or otherwise) you are of your bosom. In any event, trying to cover-up a large bosom with a high neckline just emphasises its size and can make you look a bit “matronly”.
Higher necklines tend to work well on small busts whereas low cut tops are less flattering – trust me, I know!
If in doubt, you can’t go far wrong with the trusty V–neck which is universally flattering. Keep the V shallow if you are small busted and/or long necked and go deeper if you have a short neck and/or big bosom. Go for a wide V if your shoulders are narrow in comparison with your hips and a narrow V if they’re broad.
I am always struck by what a difference choice of neckline makes on BBC news reader, Jane Hill. She has a square face shape, shortish neck and ample bosom and I think she looks so much better in a low neckline rather than the high, square neck. What do you think?
If you’d like to find out which necklines would look best on you (along with your best styles of jackets, skirts, dresses, trousers, tops, jewellery etc) why not book in for a Style Consultation?